a7 Stories October 16, 2015

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Earlier this week, Apple was found guilty in an ongoing patent lawsuit initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, Apple was said to potentially owe the university’s patent licensing arm $862 million in damages. Today, however, Reuters reports that the jury in the case, after much deliberation, has ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages.

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a7 Stories October 13, 2015

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A jury today in Madison, Wisconsin has found Apple guilty of using technology owned by the University of Wisconsin without permission. According to a report from Reuters, Apple used chip technology owned by the university in its A7, A8, and A8X processors, which are found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and several iPad variants.

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a7 Stories August 14, 2015

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Less than a month from now, Apple is expected to officially unveil its new A9 chip. This will be the ninth A-Series processor including the original A4, which powered the first iPad, iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch, and second-generation Apple TV. It’s hard to overstate the importance of the A-series chips to Apple’s devices, as they’ve helped the company to achieve everything from major processing leaps to impressive power efficiency and — often taken for granted — guaranteed UI smoothness for every year’s newly-launched devices.

With the iPhone 6S just around the corner, we’ve started to receive tips purporting to reveal how much better the A9 will perform than the A8 processors found in the latest iPhones, iPad Air 2, and iPod touch. While we wouldn’t characterize the numbers we’ve seen as reliable, they led us to look back at the history of A-series chips, and consider what can reasonably be expected from the A9. Read on for our thoughts…

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a7 Stories November 17, 2014

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Korea Times is claiming that a deal has been struck with Apple for Samsung to supply 80% of the chips for next year’s iPhones and iPads, with TSMC picking up the balance of orders.

Samsung Electronics agreed with Apple to produce application processors (APs) from next year for iPhones and iPads, sources said Monday.

The agreement means Samsung will become a primary supplier of APs to Apple, pushing its chief Taiwanese rival TSMC back to second place. From 2016, the company will supply 80 percent of APs used in Apple devices, and TSMC the remainder.

The paper suggests that Samsung will split production of the A9 chip across its Korean and Texas plants, partnering with New York-based GlobalFoundries for additional capacity … expand full story

a7 Stories October 23, 2014

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Note: The app is still rolling out worldwide. Check back soon if the links don’t work for you!

Announced during Apple’s October event, Pixelmator for iPad ($4.99) is an important stepping stone in the iPad’s history. The Mac app is regularly featured by Apple as an exemplar app in the Mac App Store and it is clear Apple wants to use Pixelmator as a ‘trophy’ app in the same way. No doubt this app (aside from games) is one of a handful that will directly benefit from the A8X performance gains.

I tested the app on an iPad Air, although the app technically supports all the way back to iPad 3, even some operations on the Air felt slow. I would be a bit cautious if you intend to install it on one of Apple’s older tablets.

As a 1.0 release, the depth and breadth of this app is staggering. There are a myriad of effects, painting brushes, color adjustments and other features to help edit and create images. The vast majority of the Mac app’s functionality have been ported across to the iPad with a touch-friendly interface, including advanced editing options like layer styles. There are also some template options that aren’t currently included in the Mac app to appease the ‘Photo Booth’ selfie crowd.

Read on for 9to5Mac’s full review of Pixelmator for iPad …

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a7 Stories September 18, 2014

Demoed at WWDC, Epic Zen Garden is now available to download in the App Store

First shown at WWDC to demonstrate Metal (Apple’s new graphics API), Epic Zen Garden is now available in the App Store to download and try out on your newly-updated iOS 8 device. Although this is more of a tech demo than a fully-fledged game, you can still get some enjoyment out of raking the sand or playing with the fish in the pond. There are several different areas to explore which show off the power of the GPU in your iOS device. It does look good.

a7 Stories December 17, 2013

Qualcomm employee said Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip was Spinal Tap moment

If Qualcomm seemed rather taken by surprise by Apple’s use of a 64-bit chip in a smartphone, first dismissing it as a gimmick and then hastily backtracking and announcing it would be making 64-bit smartphone chips itself, that’s because it was, says Dan Lyons in a nicely-written piece on HubSpot. The piece includes what has to be a strong contender for tech quote of the year:

The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut,” says the Qualcomm employee. “Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It’s not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won’t benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it’s like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it.”

The reference is to a scene in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap where the band proudly shows an amp that goes all the way up to 11, explaining that “it’s one louder.” What Qualcomm missed was that while 64-bit smartphone chips may be of limited immediate value, the A7 made for a compelling marketing sell, leaving other companies scrabbling to catch up.

Qualcomm has just created a 64-bit version of its Snapdragon SOC and expects to see it appearing in Android phones sometime in the second half of next year.

a7 Stories December 13, 2013

Expect even better 3D gaming from A8 chip as ARM acquires Geomerics

If you thought the gaming performance of Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip was good, there is likely even better to come in future following ARM’s acquisition of 3D gaming specialist Geomerics.

Geomerics specialises in photo-realistic graphics, and its technology is used in games like Battlefield 4, Inquisition and Primal Carnage. The company’s Enlighten system means that once a light-source like the sun has been positioned in a scene, Enlighten takes care of generating all the shadows, reports VentureBeat.

“Enlighten has helped EA provide new levels of realism and gameplay experience in titles such as our highly popular Battlefield franchise,” said Carl Almgren, Head of Development, Frostbite Game Engine. “We’re delighted that ARM is committed to on-going development on all the key game console platforms and graphics architectures, as well as the on-going development of Geomerics’ technologies.”

The company will be a subsidiary of ARM, but continue to operate independently.

a7 Stories November 12, 2013

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Suggestions that Apple is looking to chipmaker GlobalFoundries to reduce its reliance on Samsung chips are rather wide of the mark, according to sources cited by AllThingsD. The rumors followed a story in the Albany Times Union that Apple might be looking to the Malta, New York, chipmaker to make iPhone and iPad chips.

In the most likely scenario, Samsung will still be the primary manufacturer of Apple’s chips for the iPhone and iPad, they said, continuing the role it has played since the earliest days of the iPhone: Building the chips that Apple designs under contract […]

Samsung will use GlobalFoundries for what is known as “flex capacity.” This is a long-standing industry practice under which a chip manufacturer pays to occasionally use another company’s factories when demand on their own factory is running higher than they would like, and they need a little help …  expand full story

a7 Stories October 31, 2013

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When Apple introduced Touch ID on the new iPhone 5s, the company provided some basic information about the kinds of security used to protect users’ fingerprints and data. A new discovery by iMore reveals that Apple has even more security in place than they discussed with the public.

According to iMore, each individual Touch ID sensor is paired with its corresponding A7 processor. To confirm the pairing theory, iMore switched the Touch ID sensors from two brand new iPhones and attempted to setup each device. Each phone failed to recognize the sensors and returned an error until the sensors were swapped back to their original phones.

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a7 Stories October 17, 2013

Possible move to A7 chip/Touch ID will boost appeal of iPad in the enterprise sector, says analyst

Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore argues in an investment note that Apple’s expected use of the 64-bit A7 chip will make the iPad a much more appealing proposition for the enterprise market.

Enhanced security & 64-bit architecture should drive enterprise penetration We believe enhanced security functionality on iOS hardware is likely to drive greater enterprise penetration over time (e.g. fingerprint and password authentication). In addition, moving to a 64-bit architecture is important to enterprise for several reasons. First, it ‘future proofs’ App development and protects investment for the migration to 64-bit computing over time. In short, enabling 64bit allows enterprises to build custom apps for iPads with greatly reduced obsolescence risk.

It should be noted, however, that one part of his equation – the Touch ID fingerprint sensor – may or may not make it into the iPad 5. We’ve heard conflicting rumors about this, claimed parts showing that appear to be the sensor in an iPad 5 casing on the one hand, with others claiming that Apple wants to retain Touch ID as a unique feature of the iPhone 5s for now.

The iPad has long been popular in the enterprise market, among large and small businesses alike, with Apple having made substantial in-roads into the sector. With the launch of iOS 7, Apple intensified its marketing efforts to businesses. If Whitmore is right that the A7 chip will add to demand, there will be some pleased-looking faces in Apple’s board-room and some worried-looking ones in Intel’s.

Via CNET

a7 Stories September 12, 2013

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Besides the main 64-bit A7 processor in the new iPhone 5s, Apple has included a dedicated motion co-processor called the M7. The chip powers many of the sensor technologies in the iPhone, such as the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope in order to move the weight off of those technologies from the phone’s main chip. This, in turn, will make the new iPhone more efficient for both performance and battery life for the user.

Apple briefly explained some of the consumer-facing abilities of the M7 motion chip, highlighting that the chip could greatly enhance fitness apps such as those from Nike. But, just like with the new iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, Apple’s ambitions for the M7 are greater than those discussed earlier this week. According to a source with knowledge of the chip’s development, Apple plans to tightly integrate the chip with its own Maps service in the coming years.

On its official website, Apple presents a brief teaser of what the M7 can do, highlighting a feature in the iPhone 5s (which was not discussed during the keynote presentation):

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a7 Stories September 10, 2013

As we were expecting, Apple just officially announced its new iPhone 5S live on stage during its event taking place now on the company’s Cupertino campus. The new iPhone 5S largely retains the same glass and aluminum design as Apple’s previous generation iPhone, but it does include upgraded internals, and a new gold color option and fingerprint sensor that we previously reported. The new iPhone 5S comes alongside the announcement of Apple’s much rumored lower-cost, plastic iPhone 5C unveiled during the event earlier today.

The iPhone 5s includes a new A7 chip, which Apple notes is the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone, something we reported previously that the company was testing. Apple says the new chip includes 2x general-purpose registers, 2x floating-point registers, and includes over 1 billion transistors on a 102mm2 die size. A7 makes the iPhone 5s over twice as fast in terms of speed, according to Apple, and also provides a 40x increase in CPU performance and 56X faster graphics. The new iPhone 5s hardware will also support Open GL/ES 3.0 and will still support 32 bit apps.

TouchID-iPhone5S-fingerprint-sensor-01Apple is also including a fingerprint sensor in the new iPhone 5s for a new security feature dubbed “Touch ID.” Embedded into the home button, the Touch ID capacitive sensor is 170 microns thin and will not only allow users to unlock their device, but also authenticate iTunes purchases.  Apple says that all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers. It also noted the fingerprint sensor will be able to support multiple fingerprints with the same device

The new iPhone 5s also include a new motion co-processor called the “M7” that Apple says works alongside the A7. It’s able to measure motion data continuously, as well as measure gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer data.

M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery.

The new chip will work with new CoreMotion APIs in iOS 7 that will allow developers to identify user movement. The first to take advantage of the technology is Nike with a new app called “Nike+ Move”.

Battery life: Apple says the new iPhone 5S will get 10 hours of 3G talk time, 8 hours of 3G browsing,a nd 10 hours of LTE and WiFi browsing. You’ll also get around 250 hours standby and 10 hours of video, according to Apple.

The iPhone 5s packs in a new camera system with a dual LED true tone flash, a new five-element lens designed by Apple, a F2.2 aperture, a sensor with a 15 percent larger active area, auto stabilization, and bigger 1.5 micron pixels. The camera also includes a new burst mode that will continuously take photos a rate of 10fps, and the 120fps slow mo mode that we reported about back in July. Head below for iPhone 5s pricing and availability: expand full story

a7 Stories August 25, 2013

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As Apple’s iPhone 5S event approaches, some new details about the new device’s internals are emerging. Clayton Morris has claimed on Twitter that the iPhone 5S’s A7 processor is “running at about 31% faster” than the iPhone 5’s A6 chip. The iPhone 5’s A6 chip is dual-core, and it seems like the iPhone 5S will also remain dual-core.

However, there could be a major differentiator: 64-bit. We’ve independently heard claims that some of the iPhone 5S internal prototypes include 64-bit processors.

It’s unclear if 64-bit will make the cut, but it’s been in testing. We’re told that the 64-bit processing will assist the A7 chip in making animations, transparencies, and other iOS 7 graphical effects appear much more smoothly than on existing iOS Devices…

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a7 Stories April 9, 2013

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According to Macotakara, new colors will be one of the more visible features of Apple’s next-generation iPhone models. According to a new report from the Japanese website, Apple’s iPhone 5 successor, already dubbed by some as the “iPhone 5S,” will come in three additional colors on top of the already existing black/slate and white/silver designs found on the iPhone 5.

It seems that it will have gossiped if the 5-color lineup of low-priced edition iPhone is carried out until now, but iPhone 5S may be 3 colors added to 2 colors of iPhone 5 1 color somehow. However, the informed sources did not tell about the kind of detailed color.

The site also claims that Apple’s already-rumored cheaper iPhone will come in five colors, but the report does not specify if this is five colors in addition to the black and white models or including the black and white options. Multiple analyst reports have previously claimed that Apple’s next iPhones will likely come in new colors.

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